A hat-trick from James Knowles and a penalty from Nicky Boshell saw Bradford (Park Avenue) progress into the First Round Proper of the FA Carlsberg Trophy with victory against Harrogate Town at the Horsfall Stadium.
The home side took the lead, as Knowles tapped home from a Jordan Deacey free-kick. Before the break, the Avenue were given a penalty, which Boshell converted. Then, after half time, Knowles added two more goals to take the match ball home and secure the Avenue’s place in the next round against Kidderminster Harriers.
The visitors came close to taking an early lead. A run from Dominic Rowe saw the winger bypass right-back Chris Howarth, and his low shot was deflected by the feet of the Avenue goalkeeper John Lamb into the path of Chris Hall, but his rebound was saved by the number one.
Despite a quiet spell of opportunities at goal from both teams, Knowles gave the Avenue an advantage. A low free-kick from Deacey was flicked by Boshell towards the far post, and Knowles poked the ball home.
Four minutes later, the Avenue nearly extended their lead. After winning possession, Simon Lenighan passed the ball to Boshell, who threaded a through ball to Davidson. However, the number nine unleashed a left-footed effort wide of Craig MacGillvray’s near post from 14 yards.
Shortly after, a quick one-two between Paul Walker and Davidson allowed the striker another attempt on goal, but his right-footed shot was tipped wide by MacGillvray.
Then, MacGillvray produced an excellent save to deny Deacey from close range. A clever turn from Boshell, saw the winger deliver a low cross, but the midfielder’s shot was saved by the legs of the Town goalkeeper from five yards.
Before the half time whistle, the Avenue were awarded a penalty. A long ball was brought down by Davidson, but the striker went down from a challenge by Town defender Matt Bloomer inside the box. Boshell sent MacGillvray the wrong way from the penalty spot.
After the second goal, Town responded, but denied their first goal by Lamb. Cleveland Taylor struck a free-kick, 25 yards from goal, but the goalkeeper reached to his bottom corner to gather the ball.
Following the break, MacGillvray had to make another save to keep the scoreline at 2-0. A perfect pass from Nathan Hotte found Davidson, but his powerful effort struck the outstretched chest of the Town goalkeeper from 14 yards.
Then, Knowles scored his second goal of the cup tie. A diagonal ball from Walker drifted to the far post, and the defender slid the ball into the bottom corner from close range.
Somehow, three minutes later, the home side failed to add a fourth. A floated delivery from Boshell found its way towards Chib Chilaka and Deacey, but neither player could add the finish and Town cleared any danger.
John Deacey introduced Jason St Juste and Tom Corner, and the two substitutes combined together to create another opportunity. After turning inside onto his favoured left foot, St Juste picked out the striker, but his header lacked enough power to trouble MacGillvray.
With full time approaching, Knowles grabbed his hat-trick. An inswinging free-kick from Boshell was met by the defender, and his header flew past MacGillvray into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Meanwhile, the Avenue’s assistant manager Mark Hume was given six minutes plus added time on the pitch and he nearly provided an assist, as his neat through ball was collected by St Juste, but MacGillvray produced another excellent save from close range.
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Howarth, Knowles, Lenighan, Mallory, Boshell, Chilaka (Corner 61), Hotte, Davidson (Hume 84), Deacey (St Juste 61), Walker.
Subs not used: McMurray, Maxfield.
Scorers: Knowles (29), (53), (83); Boshell (pen 42).
Harrogate Town: MacGillvray, Taylor, Merris, Bolder (Mitchell 59), Bloomer, Brown, Worsfold (Beesley 82), Metcalfe, Hall, Rowe (Eustace 84), Nelthorpe.
Subs not used: Rogers, Crook.